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A. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS

Madeleine Davis Karnac Books ePub

Winnicott’s theory of emotional development was principally stated in terms of the developing self For him the concept of self, while inseparable at one end of the scale from anatomy, physiology and biology, was, at the other end, essential in a full evaluation of what is meant by mental health in the human being. In spite of being central to his theory, the self is not easy to define: in his writing there are variations in its meaning according to the context in which it is found. It does, however, carry the connotation of personal identity that is embedded in everyday language.

At first the personal identity is only potential. At the very beginning there is a primary “central self’ later to become the “core of the self,” also spoken of as a “potential true self.” Of the central self Winnicott wrote,

The central self could be said to be the inherited potential which is experiencing a continuity of being, and acquiring in its own way and at its own speed a personal psychic reality and a personal body scheme (51).

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Introduction: Malcolm Pines

Karnac Books ePub

Malcolm Pines

In the 1970s, the revisionist psychoanalyst George Klein emphasized that psychoanalytic theory had not yet found the rightful place for what Hopper (2003) has termed the essential “sociality” of human beings. Klein pointed out that in the structural theory of id, ego, and superego, there was no place and no word for “us-ness”, or “we-ness” as a complement for “ego” and perhaps for “id” or “it”. We needed a concept such as the “we-go”, but somehow this was not quite the right word for this. Now, on the basis of his European classical education, Tom Ormay, who is not only a group analyst but also a philosopher of science, in “Mirror neurons, sociality, and the species homo sapiens” has given us the missing word: “nos”.

Ormay does not want to discard Freud’s great achievement in presenting us with his structural theory, with which he replaced his original drive theory, taking into account the great social forces of human society. In Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921c), Freud wrote that, from the very first, individual psychology is at the same time social psychology as well: all intrapsychic object relationships can be considered as social phenomena. However, Freud could not accept the proposal of the American psychoanalyst Trigant Burrow that psychoanalytic theory itself should be open to what Burrow called “group analysis”, the result of his exploration of the dynamics of small groups. Later, Foulkes remembered that he had read these papers, as well as the related work of Fromm, Horney, Adler, and others who shared similar interests.

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Chapter One - Psychoanalysis at a Crossroads: Between Science and Humanism—A Path to Understanding

Schermer, Victor L. Karnac Books ePub

—Georg Buchner (1963; orig. pub. 1879): Woyzeck

The following brief vignette will serve to introduce a much larger subject:

“A young woman (Ava) early in treatment spoke of her discomfort disclosing her inner life to her therapist. Subsequently, reviewing her history of self-abnegation vis-à-vis an intrusive mother and her efforts to protect herself from her mother's invasive control, Ava recalled a time in her childhood when she took the “little book” she was reading for her own enjoyment and hid it from her approaching mother inside the “big book” her mother insisted she “should” be reading. As therapy progressed, it became clear to both patient and therapist that this image had provided an apt metaphor to convey the patient's felt need to be cautious in what she disclosed about herself in her dealings with the therapist”. (Cohen & Schermer, 2004, p. 580)

The little book concealed under the big book is also an apt metaphor for psychoanalysis itself, which at its roots seeks to uncover the hidden story beneath the patient's free associations and transactions with the therapist. Psychoanalysis attributes causal and explanatory significance to what is undisclosed. If, among what has been called the plurality (Wallerstein, 2005) of analytic concepts and approaches, there is a common thread, it is the belief in the “hidden dimension” (Wurmser, 1978). The meaning and theoretical account attributed to the concealed phenomenon, whether understood as a wish, an archetype, a primitive phantasy, a self-state, an attachment pattern, an intersubjective co-creation, a relational matrix, or an ineffable realm of transformation, depends on the orientation of the particular analyst. But what distinguishes psychoanalysis from cognitive-behavioral and other forms of therapy, as well as the empirical and rationalist understandings that dominate modern psychology, is the belief in the power of the undisclosed, unknown, and unknowable and their importance both for mental illness and, conversely, self-transformation and the alleviation of symptoms.

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CHAPTER FOUR. Individuation

Michael Fordham Karnac Books ePub

In Psychological types Jung defines individuation as follows :— ‘It is the development of the psychological individual as a differentiated being from the general, collective psychology. Individuation, therefore, is a process of differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality’ and he adds later on: ‘Individuation is practically the same as the development of consciousness out of the original state of identity which is ‘ … the original non-differentiation between subject and object…’. This state is characteristic of primitive mentality for it is the ‘real foundation of participation mystique … of the unconscious state of the civilized adult and of … the mental state of early infancy …’. In addition he asserts that ‘Identity with the parents provides the basis for subsequent identification with them; on it also depends the possibility of projection and introjection.’ (1921, p. 441). It is the differentiation of the individual personality out of the state of ‘identity’ that I select as being the core of the definition. I shall show how the basis of it is completed by the age of two. Before doing so, however, I want to note that when Jung includes ‘general, collective psychology’ in his definition he is referring to the social and religious life of the community constructed by adults. Its equivalent in infancy is the mother.

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4. The invisible Oedipus complex

Britton, Ronald; Feldman, Michael; O'Shaughnessy, Edna Karnac Books ePub

Edna O’Shaughnessy

A current controversy about the Oedipus complex is whether it is indeed universal and of central importance, still to be regarded as ‘the nuclear complex of development’. It is a clinical fact that there are long periods of analysis—possibly, some have suggested, even whole analyses—in which there seem to be little or even no oedipal material. In trying to account for this fact, analysts have taken different ways. One way, taken by Kohut and his followers (Kohut, 1971), is to set the Oedipus complex aside, posit a theory of self-psychology and advise a new clinical technique, which focuses on deficit and offers restoration. Kleinians take an opposite way. Their approach, when the Oedipus complex is what I am calling ‘invisible’, is that this is so, hot because it is unimportant, but because it is so important and felt by the patient (from whatever causes) to be so unnegotiable that he employs psychic means to make and keep it invisible.

In this chapter I focus on one small area of the Oedipus complex; its first stages, when these are reached after a disturbed early development. When Klein (1928, 1932) added early stages and later linked the Depressive Position, on which in her view mental health depends, to Freud’s nuclear complex, she expanded the emotional constellation from which the Oedipus complex of each patient takes its very individual form. The patients I describe are struggling to obliterate an early oedipal situation, which feels continually to be threatening. As will become apparent, feelings of exclusion, problems of separateness and of being single in the presence of an oedipal pair, and, above all, a distinctive type of sexual splitting are foremost in these patients.

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